I have been a part of the Betrayal Trauma “world” for over a decade now. I have heard so many stories. I’ve seen a lot of questions asked. One I hear often is a question of what to do when your partner has done something, and as a result you broke off the relationship, then the partner comes back and says they have changed. You don’t want to be with them again, but you still have love in your heart. Do you have to take them back?
You can love someone AND tell them NO! I think this ties into a recent blog post I wrote about the bad advice we get that we need to “try everything” before we divorce. Just because you care about someone doesn’t mean you have to let them continually hurt you until all your love has left you. You can care about someone, and send them off WITH LOVE!
You can say something like “I’m really happy for you that things are different for you now that you (are on meds, in therapy, sober…). I really wish you well in your future. Our relationship is still over, as I had told you last time we talked.” You can love yourself enough to hold boundaries and say no, you don’t have to wait until you despise them or your life is in danger.
You are the only person who can fully love you. Or said another way, you are the only person who can create the feeling of love in your life. Stick with me here, this is important and life changing when you get it. Your feelings (like the feeling of love) are created by your thoughts. Yup, the only place your feelings come from are your own thoughts. Your feelings do NOT come from your partner’s, or anyone else’s actions.
Let me explain: Your partner can bring you a dozen yellow roses. This is a neutral CIRCUMSTANCE. Depending on what you THINK about this action, you can create different FEELINGS for yourself. One person might think “Ugh, I hate roses, they always make me sneeze. I’ve told him this, why can’t he care about me enough to bring me something besides flowers?!” If you have this THOUGHT it is likely to create a FEELING like frustration. From the FEELING of frustration you will take your next actions. However, another person could be met with the same CIRCUMSTANCE, their partner bringing them the same roses, and instead think “Oh my gosh, this is so romantic! I’ve always wanted to have someone bring me roses!” This second THOUGHT is likely to lead to a FEELING of gratitude or happiness. The actions a person takes from a place of gratitude is very different from the actions a person takes from frustration. So it is NOT the act of bringing flowers that creates a FEELING, it is the THOUGHT about the action that creates the FEELING.
This is an important distinction because when we understand that all the love we FEEL in our lives was first created with our own THOUGHTS, we are then free to create an abundance of love in our lives. A person who understands that no matter what another person does, they still have the power to create their own emotions, they stop handing others their power. For instance, when I was married, I really wanted my ex to change his behavior. I was sure that if he stopped looking at porn I would feel loved by him. But that’s not how that works. He could stop looking at porn, and I could still have thoughts about him that did not lead to love. I needed to create love for myself with the thoughts I was choosing.
Let me pause for a moment and address a question that my clients always ask at this point when I’m explaining this to them. They will ask “so does that mean I have to just accept their behavior? Do I have to trick my brain into thinking that they are loving me while they are looking at porn?!” My answer is NO, absolutely not. The power that comes from understanding how our thoughts work, means that we can release someone with love. This is where boundaries come in. A boundary is a statement that you decide on that is meant to keep YOU safe, emotionally and/or physically. (Often the term “boundary” is used in a way to try to control the actions of the partner. That is not a boundary. A boundary recognizes that the other human can do what they want, I will just keep myself safe with my response to their actions.) Put simply, a boundary is an IF/THEN statement. “If you have sex with someone else, then I will divorce you.” When you have a clear boundary that comes from a place of LOVING YOURSELF, then you can hold that boundary in a place of love. That way, if your partner has sex with someone else, you already know what you are going to do. You can love yourself enough to leave. Often people feel really conflicted and say things like “he’s my best friend, but he cheated, what do I do now.” If they have this boundary, I tell them that they can let them go with love. There will be mourning over losing your best friend, and love for yourself because you don’t accept cheating in your relationship. “You have broken my trust by cheating. I can not stay married to you. I wish you well in your future.” All of these things can exist at the same time.
It’s only when we get caught in the mind drama, and thinking that someone else needs to make us feel loved that we think we are confused on what to do. When you stay in a place of self-love you can see other’s decisions as being about them, and not about you.
Don’t fall prey to thinking that you need to take someone back just because you still care about them. You can hold your boundaries, care about the other person, and say NO. You can do this with romantic partners, friends, and/or family members. I have blood relatives that have continually crossed my boundaries of safety. I have set very clear boundaries, that right now look like no contact, in order to stay safe. And because I have done this, I have actually found a place of love for them. Because in keeping myself safe and loving myself, I can love them-from afar while saying NO. Love does not have to mean letting someone into your life. I recognize that these family members have mental illnesses that make them unsafe. I don’t have to be angry about it, I can love myself and give myself the distance I need. Because guess what, if I chose to hate them and keep this distance, they wouldn’t FEEL the hate, I would. And I don’t want hate in my life. I have 2 ex husbands, I don’t hate them either. I have no contact with one, and limited contact with the other. I don’t allow either of their behavior to take away from any love I have for myself.
If you are struggling with dealing with a partner, an ex, a sibling or family member, and are thinking that you need them to change in order for your feelings to change, don’t worry, there is nothing wrong with you. This is what most of us have been taught to believe from the time we were little. But there is so much more love available to yourself when you learn to create your own love. If this resonated with you and you are ready to do this work, I am here to help you. You don’t have to live in the pain of the past any longer. You can create an amazing future for yourself. Click HERE to schedule a FREE discovery call with me and learn powerful tools that you can put to use right away to start creating a new, happier life. I promise it will be an hour well spent. And at the end you will know for sure if you’d like to keep coaching with me. The only time to take action is NOW! You are worth this gift of time to yourself. See you soon!
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